What’s happened? Boris Johnson gets a grilling from a panel of MPs investigating whether the late prime minister misled Parliament over a lockdown-breaking celebration in Downing Street.
He sat before the proper committee during a three-hour-session on Wednesday, insisting he “did not sprawl to the House” when he said no rulings were burst during gatherings held during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He admitted he misled Parliament after the Partygate scandal appeared but said his statements were “made in good faith” and based on what he “honestly knew and believed at the time”.
The former PM was a writ of relying on “flimsy” assurances of officials who were mistaken and using the word of his mentor as a “deflection mechanism”. He could be hung or even lose his seat if he lies.
Following months of political pressure, Rishi Sunak delivers his tax return feature showing his income as chancellor and prime minister.
With his rescue in the hot seat, you could call it a good day to cover lousy news collected by Lib Dem Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine.
After long promising to rescue his tax returns, Jardine claimed Sunak “creep them out whilst the world is vague with Boris Johnson’s Partygate grilling”, burying them under other headlines.
Boris Johnson has once again crept over the Partygate scandal for inadvertently misleading the British Parliament over the COVID law-breaking function at Downing Street through his time as prime minister.
On Wednesday, Johnson was grilled for hours by the House of Commons Privileges Committee, examining whether he knowingly deluded the Parliament over the Partygate scandal of gathering that ruptured the lockdown rules.
I apologise for inadvertently misleading this House. To say that I did it speak or purposely is untrue, as the show he told the committee.
During a hot session, the 58-year-old senior Conservative Party MP persevered. The events under the scandal’s purview were vital during the lockdown period as Downing Street doubled up as a workplace and residence.
“I believe it was necessary for work purposes,” he said when questioned about a specific event in November 2020.
Johnson said the meeting, while community distancing orders were in place, was “necessary” because two senior staff members were about to leave “in potentially acrimonious circumstances”.
“I accept that perfect community distancing is not being observed, but that does not mean that what we were doing is opposite with the guidance,” he said.
In his opening observation, Johnson swore, “hand on heart; I did not recline to the House” after returning an oath on the Bible to tell the truth during the session.
He said: “When this query was set up, I was assured that you would find nothing to show that I knew or trust anything else, as indeed you have not.
“I was assertive, not because there has been some cover-up. I was sure because I knew that was what I believed, which is why I said it.”
During the grilling, the former prime minister insisted that his officials confident him no rules were being burst, and nobody raised any problems with him.
But he admitted it had been a mission to tell the Commons that counsel had been “followed fully” at No. 10 Downing Street.
“I was misremembering the line that had early been put out to the media about this event, which was ‘COVID orders were followed at all times’,” he said.
Johnson has apologised to Parliament for party gate after he was issued a fine by Metropolitan Police, saying the buck ceased with him as the prime minister.
During the oral show to the cross-party committee, he said it was difficult for the social counsel at No. 10 Downing Street as it is a “confined, narrow 18th Century townhouse”, and they had no choice but to meet “day in, day out, seven days a week in a constant battle against COVID”.
“I will accept till the day I expire that it was my job to thank the worker for what they had done, chiefly during a crisis like COVID, which kept advent back, which appeared to have no end,” he said, concerning the so-called farewell happening for staff over the lockdown period.
During the three-hour session, there was a bit when Johnson lost his cool. Johnson reacted when asked if he sought advice over the issue afar: “This is total nonsense, I mean, complete nonsense. “I asked the relevant people, and they were senior people, and they had been working very hard.”
But the committee chair, veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman, called his reassurances light and “did not number too much at all”.
The committee is expected to remove weeks before it ends its inquiry, with forward written and oral evidence also proper. It will then present its discovery to Parliament and allow MPs to vote on the action.